Like many families all of the world, every Christmas, my family and I open up presents.
Most years, my sisters would put one of the new fads on their Christmas list and when it came time to open up the gift, I’d hear multiple comments like, “Why couldn’t we have come up with something like that?” or “Can you imagine how much money these people are making off something this silly?”
In this post, I want to reflect on these comments and talk about ideas. In particular, why ideas are worthless without action.
Hopefully, by reading this post, you can get into the appropriate entrepreneurship mindset: the mindset of taking action.
“Ideas are nothing but neurological flatulence.” ~ MJ DeMarco
“Having the world’s best idea will do you no good unless you act on it. People who want milk shouldn’t sit on a stool in the middle of the field in hopes that a cow will back up to them.” ~ Curtis Grant
Ideas are Worthless Without Action
Last summer, I was hanging out with a group of friends and they started talking about some of the ideas they had.
After telling me some of their ideas, I started to dig a little deeper into their comments, “How would you actually implement that? What steps are you taking for these ideas? Have you thought about potential competitors or what you customers actually might want?”
I stopped short of telling them my true opinion… but they didn’t appreciate me raining on their idea parade.
“Well Erik, you are doing a lot of things with your time. What ideas do you have? I bet you have a ton of ideas.”, my one friend said.
What I said next caught them off guard.
“I actually don’t have too many ideas. Right now, I’m focused on taking actions and working towards my goals. I truly believe that without action, ideas are worthless, so I actually don’t think too much about new ideas because I’m focused on what I’m doing now.”
After that, the conversation topic changed and we had fun enjoying some drinks and a ball game.
At the time, I didn’t know if my comments would have an effect on him, but he’s a smart guy. What’s interesting, 6 months later, I was chatting with this same friend.
He told me what he had started doing in the past few months to get closer to his goals. I’m glad I was able to influence him for the better 🙂
Could You Create an Overnight Success?
Let’s go back to Christmas from year’s past.
“Why couldn’t we have come up with something like that?”
Fidget spinners, rainbow looms, Tsum Tsums, the list of fad toys goes on and on.
I’m going to be condescending here: most of my family members are caught up in their own heads with their work, TV shows, finances, retirement, and the thought of creating something amazing never crosses their mind.
If I put it like that, it’s pretty obvious why you haven’t come up with something.
I’m going to be a little more condescending here: even if one of us had the idea, I bet the idea would stop there…
Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, hanging out with friends – these all are way more important than trying to make an idea a reality.
Overnight successes rarely happen, and typically are 5 to 10 years in the making. Instead of trying to shoot for the moon on day one, being consistent with your actions will be the key to success.
Humans Underestimate What They Can Do in a Year
Humans underestimate how much they can accomplish in a year, but overestimate what they can accomplish in a day.
Everyone on this Earth has 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, 720 hours in a month, and 8,760 hours in a year.
In the past year, I’ve written over 150,000 words on this blog across 200+ posts. Could I have done this in a day? No. What about a week? Nope. But in a year? Well, I did it, so yes 🙂
What’s your idea? What’s your goal? Where do you want to be in a year? What about 3 years? 5 years?
Think about this for a second: in 5 years, you’ll be on this Earth for 43,800 hours.
How many hours does it take to implement your idea? 100?
Spending 5 hours today, and then not picking it up for 2 months isn’t going to get
you going towards your goal.
Spend an hour a day over the next 100 days and you’ll reach your goal. Spend half an hour the next 200 days, and you’ll be where you want to be.
Take action today. Spend 30 minutes sitting down, putting away your phone, and focusing on your taking a step on your idea.
Your Task: Implement Your Idea
After you finish reading this post, think about what ideas you have had in the past, and what you did with those ideas.
Think about what ideas you have today.
Brainstorm what actions you can take to make those dreams into reality. (I know you can handle a little brainstorming 🙂 )
Come up with a list of things you can do in the next week and start on them – let’s turn that dream from an idea to something concrete!
Unapplied Knowledge is No Knowledge at All
When you begin to take action, remember the following quote by Stephen R. Covey: “Unapplied knowledge is no knowledge at all.”
You could read 1,000 books, and none of it would matter if you didn’t take action.You could attend 50 seminars, but it would be a waste of time if I didn’t do anything with your enthusiasm.
How many people do you know who claim to be experts in some fashion or another?
The supposed health guru who is 50 pounds overweight?
The personal finance expert who has 10’s of thousands of credit card debt and spends more than they make?
I’m sure we have all encountered the person giving our relationship advice when their relationships are a struggle.
Don’t be like these people – or should I label them? Imposters? Wannabes? I’m not going to be an imposter or wannabe. I’m applying my knowledge finally – I’ve read 5-10 books this year on business and self-development – and now I have a business registered with the state and collecting orders.
Growth occurs outside the comfort zone. Let’s continue to push into the discomfort zone.
Taking Action is As Important as Brainstorming
I hope that this post has altered your mindset a little bit towards ideas and taking actions.
You want to build an empire? It’s going to take time, and it’s going to take effort. No one gets to the top of the mountain watching TV or hanging out at the bar.
Ideas are what inspire us to do better and can be used to fuel the fire.
But, there needs to be a spark to light that fire – and that spark is YOU.
Start taking action today on your ideas. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish by just taking a little action 🙂
“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life — think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” ~ Swami Vivekananda
Readers: what ideas do you have? Are you taking actions on those ideas, or just thinking about it? Why haven’t you taken action?